The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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February 25, 2000 Issue
Local News

Jubilee invites spiritual renewal

Throughout 2000 we are being invited to deepen our treasure

By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor

Do you feel a greater call to spirituality in the jubilee year?

You should, said Bp. Robert Morneau, auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese.

"In the jubilee year, we are challenged to deepen our relationship with the Lord," he said. "Spirituality is the greatest treasure that you and I possess."

Bp. Morneau recently presented "Jubilee Spirituality" at Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Green Bay, sponsored by the Men of Nativity Covenant Keepers. He challenged the audience to listen attentively and respond wholeheartedly to the call to spirituality.

"Get to know God," he said. "Not to know God means that we do not know ourselves."

He presented three components of spirituality.

"Spirituality is trying to live in God's presence," he said. "Spirituality is allowing God to do things through us. Spirituality is also being attentive to the Lord's call. We call this AAA spirituality--attention, adherence, abandonment."

Do you want a deeper spirituality?

This can be achieved by living the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, said Bp. Morneau. The works of mercy include instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, admonishing the sinner, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving offenses, comforting the afflicted, praying for the living and the dead, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, ransoming the captives, visiting the sick and burying the dead.

"I have a friend in Santa Fe who has devoted his whole life to building wells for people in Guatemala and other countries where sufficient water is not available," he said. "I take this for granted. He is giving drink to the thirsty. The Lord feeds people through us."

Bp. Morneau also presented a list of Challenges for Contemporary Discipleship as ways to deepen spirituality in the jubilee year. Exercising responsible stewardship topped the list.

"Ninety percent think of stewardship as finances," he said. "It is also sharing your time and treasure, your gifts. I recently gave the 37 kids being confirmed in Marinette two numbers, 168 and 144. The first number, 168, is the number of hours in the week. I asked them to give one hour back by going to Mass. Last weekend, only 35% went to church in our diocese. I could see a number of the kids squirming when I mentioned this. There were a number of parents squirming as well. One hour is all we ask."

The second number, 144, refers to the number of 10-minute slots in the day. Bp. Morneau challenged the kids to give two, 10-minute slots per day to God through reflection, prayer or reading the Bible.

Other Challenges for Contemporary Discipleship include balancing inwardness with active concern, fostering universal hospitality, retaining ideals in the midst of facts and making a contract with reality.

Bp. Morneau also stressed choosing a life of intentionality and living life to the fullest in the present moment.

"We need to make things happen and be proactive," he said. "We cannot live with guilt about the past or with anxiety about the future. We need to live in the Lord's presence."

Spirituality is a tough concept, said Bp. Morneau. He pointed out the effects of our culture on spirituality.

"By age 50, the average American has watched nine years of television," he explained. "What is on television? Commercials. Images shape and form our lives. It really tugs at us as we try to focus on spirituality."

"Spirituality is staying awake," he said. "If we are really awake, we are going to be in God's presence."

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